Singles Reviews Diary 19 – 14th June 2010

The schedule for singles being released is constantly changing – I checked the schedule for singles being released this week (starting 14th June) on Saturday and some great, well hyped tracks were scheduled for release. I check today and most of these have been pushed back or dropped off with further notice of when they’ll be released. So yeah, most of the singles are a bit more on the alternative side this week. However, I can tell straight off from the 20 singles below which one is going to be my Track Of The Week and which one is going to be my Stinker Of The Week. Might as well, get started. Here are my thoughts on this week’s singles (hopefully the moderators don’t delete them like the last two), I’m going to have to be careful with what I say.

Singles Reviews Diary 19 – 14th June 2010:

01. Bless Beats featuring Wiley, Remi Nicole and De La Soul: Let It Go
A choppy, beat heavy collaboration with grime master Wiley, Kate Nash knockoff Remi Nicole and rather brilliant American rapper De La Soul, this track just isn’t memorable. Featuring vague reggae undertones, the production is dull, Remi’s chorus doesn’t have sticking power and Wiley sounds a bit too much like Dizzee Rascal. I have a feeling this track samples some older song but I can’t think what, it raises the song a little. As does De La Soul’s quick rap at the end. Not necessarily a bad song, just a dull one. 2.5 STARS

02. Delays: Unsung
The lead single from Delays’ upcoming album Star Tiger Star Alien. This is a great synthy pop rock track, it sounds like it could belong to a soundtrack. I love the building guitar, synths and Greg Gilbert’s building falsetto on the bridge. That falsetto has the potential to annoy a few but its nothing as bad as Mika. A terrific return to form for the Southampton band. 4 STARS

03. Eminem: Not Afraid
Also back on terrific form is Eminem. Not Afraid, the lead single from his forthcomingRecovery LP, doesn’t return to Em at the peak of his career but it’s a major step up from his previous effort Relapse which Eminem acknowledges himself as being a little “ehhhh”. Eminem raps earnestly over the hip-hop beat in this solid yet unspectacular comeback single and you really believe him when he promises to deliver for his fans this time round. I’m hoping this proves as a little taster of greater things to come for the album, which from what I’ve heard of already is shaping up nicely. I want the Rihanna collaboration Love The Way You Lie to follow next. 3 STARS

04. The England Band featuring Joe Public: Cabagna (Come On England)
This is completely naff. However, it’s lively and fun with a chorus that sticks in one’s head like bubblegum. This has a really old fashioned, family friendly feel to it. Probably the most lively English World Cup song to be released this year. 4 STARS

05. Everything Everything: Schoolin’
An intriguing and enjoyable indie rock track from the British band. This is a minimal and understated toe-tapper with little whistle hooks, running falsetto vocals and little guitar licks here and there. It’s a real grower and the track slowly seeps into your brain. I hope this is a sleeper hit like Temper Trap’s Sweet Disposition because I can see radio picking this up despite not being upfront catchy. One thing’s for sure though, this is a band to watch out for. 4.5 STARS

06. Example: Kickstarts
After scoring a Top 10 hit with Won’t Go Quietly, Chris Martin lookalike rapper Example with what is bound to be another hit. Combining rapping and singing over squeaky house beats, Example sings about falling in love over and over again. More importantly, Example has managed to craft a radio friendly song that doesn’t mimic his contemporaries like Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk and N-Dubz. Another great single from Mr. Example, better known to his mum as Elliot Gleave. 4 STARS

07. Fatboy Slim featuring Herve: Machines Can Do The Work
Fatboy Slim is back with a big acid house track. Squelchy synths and a pounding bass with the repetitive hook of “Machines can do the work” (the modern, lazy way of looking at things) is by no means evolutionary but this is pretty much a tune to hit the dancefloor at a rave or pump out of you’re souped up ride. Above most other alternative dance tracks at the minute. 3.5 STARS

08. Green Day: Last Of The American Girls
Green Day have a new single out?! I barely realised. This is due to the rather disappointing commercial reception of Green Day’s most recent album 21st Century Breakdown. When you compare it to American Idiot which was EVERYWHERE in 2004/2005, this album has failed to live up to the height of its former’s glory. The reason for this is that 21st Century Breakdown has no standout songs, it makes an overall cohesive album but Last Of The American Girls is just your stereotypical, recycled Green Day anthem that we’ve heard from them numerous times before. It lacks the humungous draw of singles such as American IdiotBoulevard Of Broken DreamsHolidayJesus Of Suburbia and Wake Me Up When September Ends and hence just falls into mundanity. 2.5 STARS

09. Green Day: When Its Time
Seeing as the singles following 21 Guns have not been so successful, it looks like Billy Joe and co. are also throwing out another single, this time from the upcoming Green Day musical. The song is a big heartfelt power ballad and like Last Of The American Girls also sounds recycled from some of their older hits. However, lyrically this is very good and Billy Joe’s vocals are in great form, angst and all. A little less mundane than the above single. 3.5 STARS

10. Kele: Tenderoni
Bloc Party lead man Kele is striking out on his own with this electropop track, the first of his solo career. A thumping beat and building dance beats combine with Kele’s endearingly, quiet vocals. The slightly robotic chorus is the standout of this track but I can’t help thinking I’ve heard the majority of the beat on some other track before and I also feel it drowns out his voice somehow. Not as spectacular as I would have believed but a solid debut effort from Mr. Okereke. 3.5 STARS

11. Kids In Glass Houses featuring Frankie Sanford: Undercover Lover
EmoPunk pop rockers Kids In Glass Houses have an unlikely collaborator on this track – why it’s only Saturdays pop vixen Frankie Sanford! The song is a fun, radio friendly pop track with Frankie oddly giving me Natalie Imbrugula vibes. If I were to be cynical,I would say that Kids In Glass Houses only added Frankie to this track so that they could get more radio airplay but you can’t argue with that fantastic chorus, those building guitars and those angsty wails from Aled Phillips and Frankie Sanford. The lyrics are terrible though – “You seem to be a scholar but you’re living here in squalor” is sickening poor. But still – this is a fun pop rock track and its been a while since we last had a rock group team up with a pop singer so enjoyable enough stuff. 3 STARS

12. Macy Gray: Lately
The irreplaceable Macy Gray is back with the third single from her forthcoming albumThe Sellout. The track is mildy funky with a modern twist of synths and Gray’s vocals are as distinctive and rich as ever. However, this track is better as album fever because it isn’t very memorable. 2.5 STARS

STINKER OF THE WEEK!
13. McLean: Finally In Love
The incredibly annoying and unoriginal McLean returns with another single after his previous unoriginal effort cracked the UK Top 10. This is so generic it makes me sick. Pounding synths and vocals and heartfelt lyrics lifted straight from the Lemar songbook, this is a dull, throwaway mess! 1.5 STARS

14. Paul Weller: Find The Torch, Burn The Plans
A rousing Britpop tune, this is a potential grower. It’s not spectacular but I do like the combination of more rockier instrumentation with electronic influences. Fans of Weller should check this out. 3 STARS

TRACK OF THE WEEK!
15. Robyn: Dancing On My Own
Critics have always praised Robyn for some reason unbeknownst to me – her voice is hardly Etta James, her songs aren’t Mozart and her lyrics aren’t Bob Dylan. But with this song, I’ve finally got why critics love Robyn so much. This song is just heartbreaking and empathetic all at the same time. Against a cascade of clubby yet strangely beautiful disco beats, Robyn sings in a heartfelt and melancholy way of how the person she’s in love with has no interest in her and would much rather get it on with someone else. Its something we can all empathise with and Robyn brings that emotional heartbreak across perfectly…which just shows you don’t need to have a pair of powerhouse pipes to convey emotion. I hope this is a huge Summer hit for Robyn. In fact I hope it becomes a pop classic…because it deserves that status completely. 5 STARS

16. Seven Days: Outside
Another Irish band to come out of nowhere, crack the chart and will have dropped out of it next week. I really think the Irish charts are fixed. My paranoid conspiracy theories aside, this isn’t much. Not awful, just a dull pop rock song with clichéd lyrics and unexciting instrumentation and vocals. 2 STARS

17. The Temper Trap: Love Lost
Aussie one hit wonders The Temper Trap return with the second follow up single to their spectacular and commercially successful Sweet Disposition. Dougy Mandagi’s distinctive falsetto is in place but the song doesn’t really gain epic momentum until the final two minutes, a little too late if you ask me…but there’s plenty to love about this track…even if it won’t be a future classic. 3 STARS

18. Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers: I Should Have Known It
From their upcoming album MOJO, veteran rockers Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers are back with this good old fashioned rousing rock tune. Age clearly hasn’t affected the band on this country tinged tune. Definitely worth checking out although I doubt this will chart. It has a very, dirty American sound to it. 4 STARS

19. Tiffany Page: On Your Head
A sexy new rock singer-songwriter to keep your eye (and ear) on! Lyrically good, this lady has echoes of Amy Macdonald and Laura Marling to her although her influences are clearly more classic rock than folk music. Despite its almost 1990s No Doubt verses, Page isn’t afraid to give us a radio friendly chorus. Expect her to be a breakout star in 2011. 4 STARS

20. UNKLE featuring Sleepy Sun: Follow Me Down
The British trip-hop group unleash this fantastic single on us. The electronica mixed with World instruments and Sleepy Sun’s Rachel Fannan’s primal vocals give this song a sense of urgency and other worldliness. Definitely the alternative track to check out this week. 4.5 STARS

So great, another week of single reviews done.Tomorrow, I hope to get the 20th Diary done (well before Monday) but don’t count on it seeing as I’ve become very lazy lately. Nearly at this for 20 weeks now, I am so proud of myself! As usual, I want comments, feedback of what you think and what your opinions are on this week’s singles.

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